'A. ^^^' '"
/ ■ J^'
HAND IN HAND
THROUGH THE HAPPY VALLEY.
MRS. J. A. OERTEL.
PUBLISHED FOR THE BENEFIT OF
THE CHILDREN'S WARD, ST. JOHN'S HOSPITAU
CHURCH CHARITY FOUNDATION,
BROOKLYN, L. I.
TO MY SWEET SISTER
rPON WHOSE GENTLE HEAD
^OD SET THIS GOLDEN CROWN OP ^
THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS LOVINGLY
There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet,
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
Oh, the last rays of feeling and life must depart,
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.,
Yet it was not that nature had shed o'er the scene,
Her purest of chrystal and brightest of grecD;
'Twas not the soft magic of streamlet or hiH,
Oh ! no,— it was something more exquisite still.
'Twas that friends, the belov'd of my bosom were near,
Who made every scene of enchantment more dear :
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve,
When we see them reflected from looks that we love.
•Sweet vale of Avoca ! how calm could I rest.
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best,
Where the storms which we feel in this cold world would
And our hearts, like thy w^aters, be mingled in peace.
THE HAPPY VALLEY
" It is warm in that green valley,
Vale of childhood, where you dwell.
It is calm in that green valley,
Round whose bournes such great hills swelL"
In the beautiful Piedmont region of
Western North Carolina, where the
foot hills lie nestling at the base of
the Blue Ridge, a stretch of valley, four or
five miles in extent, bordering the yet infant
Yadkin, is known as the " Happy Valley." ^
On either side the mountains rise and fall in
wavy, picturesque outline, rugged and wild,
with faces scarred by tempests and the black-
ened tracks of the fire fiend that so often
sweeps destructively up and down their steeps.
They stand in their native, uncultured wild-
ness, in sharp contrast with the lovely scene
in the vale below.
8 The Happy Valley,
The bottom lands of this valley are luxuri-
antly rich. In their season the broad fields of
wavy grain, heavy with the golden harvest,
and the ranks of stately corn, with its broad,
dark green leaves covering the full strong ears,
bring to mind the exclamation of the Psalm-
ist, "The valleys shall stand so thick with
corn that they shall laugh and sing.-'
As one approaches from the south the route
lies over the Green Mountain. By the gradual
ascent of a graded road the top at last is
reached, and winding through a gap the de-
scent immediately commences. Just on the
summit a mystical mound, circular in form,
with a depression in the middle, supposed to
be the resting place of some of the dusky war-
riors, who in the olden time made these cliifs
resound with the war-whoop and song, gives
a name to the locality. It is known as the
'' Indian Grave Gap." The road is the oldest
in the county, having been travelled long be-
fore this section was inhabited.
The Happy Valley. 9
'* Half drowned in sleepy peace it lay,
As satiate with the boundless play
Of sunshine in its green array,
And clear cut hills of purple hue.
To keep it safe, rose up behind,
As with a charmed ring to bind
The grassy sea, where clouds might find
A place to bring their shadows to."
The first view of this valley, as it spreads
out before the eye of the traveller as he emer-
ges from the woods, is sure to call forth feel-
ings of unbounded admiration. The one per-
vading sentiment of this lovely spot is that of
peace. The sunlight seems to lie so lovingly
on these fields and to bathe them with its rich-
est gold. Bird voices fill the air all the day,
and when night throws a deeper repose over the
landscape, the plaintive voice of the whippor-
will, comes in with its minor strain to make the
silence and quietude as it were audible.
In the midst sparkles and dances on the
merry Yadkin, fresh from its mountain birth-
pl-ace. It is still so small that it may be ford-
ed in places, is a bright, clear stream, and sings
joyfully as it flows past, on its long way to the
lO The Happy Valley.
throbbing sea. Its course amid the wheat and
corn fields is strongly marked, by the fringes
of shrub and tree growth upon its borders,
and there is also a realization of that charming
picture of the poet, "That vale in whose
bosom the bright waters meet."
With graceful curve and sweep the ice-cold
waters of Buffalo creek join themselves to the
Yadkin. It flows down through a most roman-
tic gorge, the high banks on each side heavily
wooded, shading the water from the sunlight
which has already tempered, the Yadkin in its
flow, as it basks in the sun-rays in its course
through the valley. Many a dignified laurel
blossom has bowed and nodded demurely at
the reflection of its own rosy face in tlie mirror-
like stream, and lovely ferns sport their deli-
cate fronds coquettishly at the waters' edge.
A most picturesque mill stands upon this
creek, just before the "meeting of the waters"
takes place. Its surroundings are wildly
beautiful ; hoary rocks, giant trees, and an
undergrowth of exquisite variety and luxuri-
ance combine to produce a rare artistic effect,
and the loneliness touches one like poetry. It
The Happy Valley. n
is fresh, free nature, in her loveliest mood,
ready to hold converse with the heart whose
chords are tuned in sympathy.
Here every season has its peculiar charms.
The spring- tide comes so daintily, robed in
the tenderest harmonies of color ; the yellow,
red, green and giay, through all their most
subtile gradations, as the young leafage puts
forth from the myriad varieties of growth, and
on every liillside, in every nook, and scattered
broadcast over the meadows, the trailing arbu-
tus, the violets, and all the early sisterhood of
lovely flowrets, stand ready with their per-
fumed breath, to whisper winning words of
God and love.
The summer advances with wealth of green-
ery, piled up, piled up ;— one feels as if a faded
leaf could never more be known on earth, so
full and perfect does everything appear. The
skies are the purest azure, and the air, purple,
velvety, not a dim haze veiling aught from
sight, but transparent, yet softening the near-
est objects. Then the gardens teem with the
full-bosomed, glowing roses, and the humming
3 2 The Happy Valley,
of the bees alone breaks in upon the drowsy
But to one who has an eye for bold, vivid
coloring, this valley in the autumn is a very
Paradise ; scarlet, crimson, maroon, orange,
yellow and brown stand sharp against each
other, blazing up the mountain sides, and
covering their tops with glory, all intensified
by the intermixture of the emerald-green pine.
As the spring suggests the thought of a gen-
tle maiden attired for a Ma}^ day festival in
pale blooms, the autumn steps down the vale
like a haughty brunette, her hair bedecked
with scarlet, her proud form arrayed in gor-
geous colors, and her passionate heart-throbs
suffusing her rounded cheeks with richest
Even old winter lays his hand right gently
here. When the snow covers all, as it does
sometimes, one does not think of death, as is
generally the wont, but as of a child in its spot-
less bed, smiling in sweet sleep at pleasant
Likewise with the rising and the setting of
the sun each day. In the morning all the
The Happy Valley. 15
eastern slope reposes in cool, dense shadow,
while the range of mountains that lie along the
west, flame and blush with the first kisses of
the sun, and as the day declines the shadows
fall where the rosy morning light has lain, and
the eastern rampart glows and shimmers in
the evening rays.
Two sunsets in the year are particularly no-
ticable. Looking up the valley from old
*'Fort Defiance," the point at which the inter-
est of his little narrative centres, the peculiar
form of the *' Table Mountain " stands, at the
end of the vista, against the sk}^ It is an in-
teresting and curious formation, and as seen
from this side, fully merits its name. It lifts
its head, perfectly square, the top flat and level,
and the precipices on each side, perpendicular
to the depth of three hundred feet.
On two evenings, one in the spring and one
in autumn, the sun sets directly behind this
mountain and seems for a few moments as it
were to rest upon its summit, a very shekinah
of radiance, calling up recollections of the
many instances recorded in Holy Scripture of
supernatural appearances on mountain tops.
14 The Happy Valley.
And so the days and seasons fonie and go in
the "Happy Yalle^^" Sometimes a storm
comes sweeping down, and the Hoods follow
and spread over the fair fields, and wild peals
of thunder disturb the repose of the scene : but
this is the exception. The memory the travel-
ler or visitor takes away with liim, is a linger-
ing sound of gentle voices, a vision of kindl}^
faces surrounded by birds and flowers, and an
impression of unbroken peace and beauty.
Several fine old southern homes are scattered
along at intervals ; homes in which the most
generous cheer, dispensed Avhh the largest
hearted hospitality, was always to be found. In
years gone by each house was full of young
people, and growing children, the families all
linked together by ties of kinship. Life there
was as full of enjoyment as culture, refinement,
affection, and an overflowing abundance of the
good things of earth could make it.
But alas, the "Happy Valley" is only an
earthly Eden, and change, the universal lot of
all, has fallen upon its dwellers. The blight
of war fell even here, and the tread of hostile
armies broke the peaceful stillness, and left
The Happy Valley. 15
niLiny a bitter track behind. The young friends
and relatives who grew up together, have
Like roses in bloom;
Some at the bridal,
And some at the tomb."
Some laid down their lives upon the altar of
their " beloved South/' lighting for what they
deemed the right, and were brought back fro in
the battle fields by tender hands to sleep be-
neath the green sod of the valley they loved ;
and the chances and changes of this mortal
life have removed others far away from these
cherished scenes of their childhood and youth.
Still each house is held and occupied by de-
scendants of tlie former owners, and a family
feeling and warm attachments bind all to-
gether. In this respect, even allowing for the
many sad recollections which time has gath-
ered there, it is still the " Happy Valley."
'A brave old house ! A garden full of "bees,
Large dropping poppies, and queen hollyhocks,
With butterflies for crowns, — tree peonies
And pinks and goldilocks."
HE home to which I would lead
my readers is known by the very
belligerent and bristling cognomen
of "Fort Defiance." The name is far how-
ever from giving any idea of the spirit which
pervades it, or its inmates ; but is derived
from an old fort of that name which in the
early history of our country did service in the
line of defence erected against the Indians. It
was located here just behind the spot where the
residence stands, upon the edge of a steep set
off, at the foot of which a creek flows. The
former site of the fort is now the graveyard;
where a goodly family group, members of four
generations, are quietly waiting for the resur-
The Happy Valley. 17
A strange fascination clings about this curi-
ous old house. It is so quaint in construction,
and the air about it seems so thick with memo-
ries, that one cannot help loving it, though
the hand of Time, and his faithful follower,
Decay, has been laid so heavily upon it, that it
is neither as cheerful or comfortable as it used
In the centre of the building a spacious
room running through the entire house, from
which a stairway with heavy oaken bannisters
leads up to the second floor, is called "The
Hall.'' A large fire-place, with pannelled
work above and around it, fills up one end.
In the corner the grim old clock stands, ruth-
lessly ticking away the hours, and days, and
years — ticking slowly, solemnly, — as if it had
upon its beating heart a remembrance of the
many lives it has seen come and go in this old
home, whose hours of birth and death have
been numbered from its dial. As if it had
gained through all these years, watching the
fleeting human shadows which have passed
before it, a sense of its own steadfastness, and
of the importance of its mission.
1 8 The Happy Valley.
It takes up at times strange voices. Some-
times with monotonous exactness it seems to
say, ''Coming — going — coming — going." Again
every stroke of the unwearied pendulum says
*' Gone — gone — gone — gone.'' It is not al-
waj's sad, however, for ever and anon there
comes a period wlien it calls out, "Happy —
ha])py — happy — happy,'' — or, '' Praise — the
Lord — Praise — the Lord."
It is as it were the heart of the mansion,
and sensitive to the influence of every light
and shadow that passes over it, while it regu-
lates the movements of the active life within,
a life that must be ever active, no matter
who comes or goes.
This " Hall " has been largely used as a din-
ing apartment, although the family dining-room
at present is to the right of it. If its walls
could speak, what tales they could tell of merry
times in the long ago : of the family reunions,
of the Christmas dinners, the birth-davs and
the wedding feasts ! The antique sideboard,
which has so often groaned beneath the weight
of the farm-house dainties piled upon it, still
keeps its place near the old clock ; there seems
The Happy Valley. 19
to be a kind of comradeship between them,
as if they could say, " you and I," to each
other, and a sort of stately, old-time spirit
lingers about them both.
There are doors, front and back, leading from
the '^Hall" into the open air.
Behind the smaller dining-room is a bed-
chamber, and from it a second stairway leads
to a suite of rooms above ; from which again a
stairway rises to the old garret, a perfect
curiosity shop in its way, being filled with
all the parapharnalia, the waifs and strays of a
family life a century old.
- To the left of the " Hall" is the parlor with
a room attached to it, and a third stairway en-
closed and winding, with odd little drawers in
the wall all up the sides. There is no connec-
tion between this parlor part of the house and
the rest, except by way of the piazza, which
stretches the whole length of the house, fes-
tooned with trailing vines, grapes and roses.
Neither is there any connection on the second
floor between the apartments to which the three
separate stairways lead. The modern ideas of
convenience find no place here in this respect,
20 The Happy Valley.
for it is necessary in order to go from one
room to another just beside it, to come down
stairs, go out on the porch, and up another
stairway. The kitchen and servants' rooms
are detached from the house, as is the usual
custom in the South.
" Roses either side the door, are
Growing lithe and tall,
Each one set, a summer warder,
For the keeping of the hall —
With a red rose, and a white rose,-
Leaning, nodding at the wall."
From the central door a wide walk leads
out through the garden. It is bordered on each
side with spacious beds of flowers, that seem
to flourish here as nowhere else. It often ap-
pears as if flowers, like children, can recognize
those who are their friends, and are ready to
respond to the sympathetic touch of kindly
fingers. Surely never any where else do leaves
unfold and buds bloom where they meet with
such a gracious, loving welcome as here.
All the sweet old-fashioned flowers find
plenty of room. The old spicy pink, the sweet
William, tulips and hyacinths, the fragrant.
The Happy Valley. 21
single- white being the family favorite, the hol-
lyhocks, the jump-up-johnnies, the blue corn-
flowers, sweet peas and poppies, and great
olumps of annunciation lilies are not crowded
out, though they stand in close proximity to
many, very many of the new and more preten-
tious, though generally less fragrant blossoms ;
and in winter the cold-pit is full of the newest
triumphs of floriculture. As the ^' sweet mo-
ther ' ' wro te, ' ' I wish you could see our pit. It is
perfectly ablaze with flowers. The laurestinus
you i-ecommended has been a pyramid of bloom
all the season, and delighted us all with its
delicious perfume ; the calla, too, has five
splendid lilies out now."
At the end of this walk is a secluded nook,
covered and shaded by century-old cedars,
dark and cool at the hottest mid-day, and jo-
cosely called by the family *^The Lovers' Re-
treat." Indeed it is said that in the course of
events several engagements have taken place
in this romantic and cosy corner. Around the
entrance roses and lilac bushes flourish, while
in the early part of the day, on every side the
eye is gladdened by the clean, pure faces of
22 The Happy Valley.
the morning-glories, which run in mad riot
Of course, to those who have lived here so
long, this garden is haunted ground, peopled
to their loving ken with fonns that others see
not. Among them there is one, a
"Little maid witli wondrous eyis,
Not afraid, but clear and tender,
Blue, and filled with prophecies,''
as she looked dreamily out at " life's unlifted
veil," whose lovely, happy life was interwoven
with its flower-life, like warp and woof.
Looking out beyond the garden bounds, on
to the mountains, green pastures, rich harvest
fields, and quiet solemn woodlands lie.
To the right the ground descends rapid y to
the same little stream of wnt^r before spoken
of as running: dovrn below the family burying
ground. It flows through the barn-yard, giv-
ing drink, brii2:ht and fresh and clear, to the
many full-uddered cows gathered therein. It
is like a sweet idyl —
The Happy Valley. 23
"The lovely laughter of the wiud-swept wheat,
The easy slope of yonder pastoral hill,
The sedgy brook whereby the red kiue meet,
And wade and drink their fill."
Beside this stream there stands several
large old beech trees, with great overhanging
branches, and the white roots, with their mnl-
titudinous arms stretched and intertwined in
the most fantastic w^ay. They have a weird,
elfish look, especially by moonlight.
" On the left the sheep are cropping
The slant grass and daisies pale.
And the apple trees stand dropping
Separate shadows toward the vale;
Over which, in choral silence.
The hills look you their ' All Hail!' "
Just behind the house, between it and the
garden, stands a huge catalpa tree. The old
giant has basked in many a summer sun, and
braved many a storm, and is now yielding to
the gnawing tooth of time. An aged grape
vine throws its snake-like form up the trunk
and around its branches, and gracefully inter-
twines its leaves and sprays with the large,
plain leaves of the tree. Near its base is a
24 The Happy Valley,
hole decayed in the trunk, where a huge limb
has broken off, in which a hen once made her
nest and hatched a volunteer brood of chick-
Through how many experiences and changes
the old tree has watched beside the mansion !
Its leaves have clapped their hands and rip-
pled with laughter at the frolics of the young
and gay who so enjoyed a sojourn here, and
when the pall of sadness has fallen upon the
old home, the winds have sighed a requiem
through its branches.
Several smaller houses are grouped about,
in one of which stands the loom, where won-
drously fine fabrics are woven by hand. Not
only the jeans and linseys of the country, but
fine dimities, and table and bed linen ; also
tasteful carpets. Though in these days of
steam machinery, goods could probably be
bought cheaper than they can be thus manu-
factured at home, and very much trouble saved
by it, still so many of the poor people around
have been in the habit of depending on the old
home for their subsistence in these various
industries, that the gentle mistress feels it her
The Happy Valley. 25
duty to keep up the old customs, though it is
of times a tax upon her strength and energies
almost beyond their powers of endurance.
In front of the house is a row of grand old
spruce pines. They are yet strong and vigor-
ous, and are magnificent in form, and solemn
and stately in their intensely dark green foli-
age. One of them v/as riven from top to bot-
tom by a thunderbolt a few years since.
The mansion was built by Gen. William
Lenoir, nearly one hundred years ago, the
work of construction being commenced about
1785. It was a laborious undertaking in those
days. The frame is of heavy oaken timber,
and still in a state of excellent preservation.
Gen. Lenoir at that time lived in a smaller
house on the opposite side of the river. The
nails were made by hand, by the blacksmith
on his plantation, and the most of the lumber
was sawed with a whip saw.
The cornice, which still adorns the eaves,
and the looking-glasses, were ordered from
Liverpool. They were received at the port of
Charleston, and hauled all the long way in
26 The Happy Valley.
He was bom in Virginia. His father was a
French Huguenot, a sea captain, and owner of
his own vessel. It went down in the raging
waters, carrying the gallant captain with it to
a seaman's grave.
He was rather a stern man, of dignified de-
meanor, but it has been said of him that in his
intercourse with women his manners were like
those of the knights of the olden time, and he
was exceedingly kind to the poor. His doors
were always open to receive the traveller, as
there were no taverns in the country in those
primitive days. Perhaps the best account
that could be given of his life is contained in
the epitaph upon his tombstone. This is
more elaborate than his family would have
wished, but the stone was ordered from the
eastern part of the State, as such a thing could
not, of course, be obtained in the mountains,
and the matter of the inscription was left to
some of his friends, his associates in public
life. This is ilieir estimate of him, and their
tribute to his memory.
The Happy Valley. 27
All that is mortal of
Born, May 8th, 1751.
Died, May 6th, 1839.
''In the times that tried men's souls he was a genuine-
"As a lieutenant under Rutherford aud Williams, in 1776,
and as a captain under Cleaveland at King's Mountain, he
proved himself a brave soldier. Although a native of
another State, yet North Carolina was proud of him as her
adopted son. In her service he filled the several ofiices of
Major -General of the Militia, President of the Council of
State, member of both houses of the Legislature, Speaker
of the Senate, First President of the Board of Trustees of
the University, and for 6Q years Justice of the Peace, and
Chairman of the Court of Common Pleas. In all these high
public trusts he was found faithful. In private life he was
no less distinguished as an afi'ectionate husband, a kind
father and a warm-hearted friend. The traveller will long
remember his hospitality, and the poor bless him as their
benefactor. Of such a man it may truly be said that his
highest eulogy is the record of his deeds."
A very interesting incident in connection
with the battle of Kings Mountain is related
by the family.
When the call came for recruits, as Major
28 The Happy Valley,
Ferguson, of the British army, was coming up
the country with his command, intending to
embody and organize the Loyalists beyond the
Wateree and Broad Kivers, and to intercept
the mountain men who were retreating from
Camden, every man who had a horse started
for the scene of action. William Lenoir w^as
then living in Wilkes Co., and joined the
forces under Cleaveland. He was made a cap-
tain, and his two iriends, Herndon, and Jesse
Franklin, afterward Governor of the State, had
also some official appointments. These three
made a compact together that they would
stand by and succ* -r each other in whatever
circumstances they might be placed.
As the command was going up the moun-
tain, there came a man ))eck()iiing and calling,
"Back, back!" and he pointed out another
way whicli they took, and that proved to
have been the onl}' way by wliich Ferguson
could have escai)ed. The man was quite un-
known, had never been seen by any of them
before, and was nevei- seen afterwards. Gen.
Lenoir always said it was a providential inter-
ference ; that it was God's will that the federal
The Happy Valley. 29
forces should be triumphant, and so He led
them by the right way to cut off the enemy's
only chance of escape.
There is also treasured up in tlie old home
an English officer's sword, that Gen. Lenoir
picked up and brought home with him from the
battle field. It has a fine keen blade, upon
which is engraved this legend, in Spanish :
" Draw me not without reason,
Sheathe me not without honor."
His wife was of an aristocratic English family,
and a thorough Church woman. She was so
situated in life that she was cut off from all
Church association. But though true to her
Church, and never uniting with any of the de-
nominations around her, she had a large and
loving heart, full of generous impulses, giving
out its affection to all who called themselves
Christian. She was so amiable and good that
her children used to say, "Mother not only
forgives an injury, but really and truly for-
She was a cripple, and walked on crutches
for the last ten years of her life ; but she was
always contented and cheerful.
30 The Happy Valley,
A grandson of tliis wortliy couple is now the
owner of the venerable home. Many a time
has the qnesrion of building a new house and
pulling down rlie old one been discussed ;
but as desirable as the new one appears to be.
when it comes to look the matter of tearing
away the old roof-tree squarely in the face,
all shrink from ir. So it stands on. Angels
have come and gone from its dooi's many a
time before, but now it has been flooded anew
with glory, freshly consecrated, made as it
were a place of transfiguration, a spot where
sinful mortals might well take oflf the shoes
from their feet, feeling that the place is indeed
A calm silence reigns in the household, and
two pictured faces upon the wall alone tell of
the gentle souls that have departed : but they
left behind them a track of light, leading the
desolated hearts up from the beautiful Valley
to the city of Jerusalem the Golden ; from the
dear old home so weather-worn and decaying,
to the " one only mansion, the Paradise of
The Happy Valley.
"Jesus in mercy briug us,
To that dear land of rest.
Who art with God the Father,
And Spirit, ever blest."
"Face and figure of a child —
Though too calm, you think, and tender,
For the childhood you would lend her.
"Yet child simple, undefiled,
Frank, obedient — waiting still,
On the turnings of your will ;
" And her smile it seems half holy,
As if drawn from thoughts more far
Than our com.mon jestings are.
" And if any poet knew her.
He would think of her with falls
Used in lovely madrigals.
" And if reader read the poem,
He would whisper — 'You have done a
Consecrated little Una.' "
THE VALLEY OF LIFE,
" There are buds that fold within them,
Closed and covered from our sight,
Many a richly-tinted petal,
Never looked on by the light ;
Fain to see their shrouded faces,
Sun and dew are long at strife.
Till at length the sweet buds open —
Such a bud is life. "
N the fondly clierislied old home of
which we have spoken, three little
fair-headed boys had already gath-
ered around the hearthstone, when upon the
15th of December, 1866, the blue eyes of a little
daughter opened to light and life. It was
a welcome, jDrecious gift, and was received with
joy and thankfulness.
The little one grew on, gaining in strength and
beauty until on the 26th of June, 1867, she was
presented for Holy Baptism. She was given
the name of Louisa Avery, the maiden name
34 The Happy Valley.
of her papa's sainted mother, which was ab-
breviated in the household parlance to Loula.
Her "sweet mother," whose confirmation
took place the same day, says of her — "I
never gave a child to the dear Lord moi-e
It was an interesting scene, as the venerable
Bishop, himself, looking all an apostle with his
stately presence, and who always comes to
these scattered sheep, with so much of tender-
ness and fatherly affection, took her in his
She went to him with evident pleasure, and
as the Holy Rite proceeded, she looked up
lovingly into the Bishop's face, and patted his
cheek caressingly. When he poured the water
over the fair baby brow, she clapped her tiny
hands and shouted aloud, as if she had already
gained the victory.
Can it be that attendant spirits whispered of
the sunny life and radiant death that awaited
her, that she should seem thus exultant at the
starting point of her Christian career.
As the months rolled by in her little life,
slowly gathering into years, she increased in
The Valley of Life. 35
loveliness. She had wide open eyes, and a
self-poised, fearless nature, from her earliest
infancy. She never was afraid of any one,
would go to any kindly hand outstretched to
take her, was never cross or fretful, and gave
very little trouble, and a great deal of comfort.
Good health and her mental characteristics
combined to make her a veritable sunbeam in
the household, a well-spring of delight to all
She even in her earliest days showed indica-
tions of the gentle consideration for others
which was a marked feature of her individual-
ity all through her life.
It is related of her that when she was about
ten months old, her papa had a number of
hands on the place, moving a house. The
nurse walked out with the babe to see what
was going on, and to watch the operations of
the workmen, all white, save one good old
They all noticed the lovely child, and came
and talked to her, and then kissed her. She
kissed them all willingly until she came to the
black man, and then she drew back, but at
36 The Happy Valley.
once she seemed to feel that her refusal might
give him pain, and to show her good will and
that she was sorry about it, she put both her
little hands on his face and tenderly stroked
She always manifested this thoughtfulness
both in joy and sorrow. Even her pet animals
were not overlooked. She desired S3^mpathy
herself and she wanted to sympathize with
every living thing.
Once, soon after she began to walk and talk,
she saw her uncle coming, of whom she was
very fond. She ran fast as slie could to meet
him, but seeing her pet cat running too, she
stopped a moment to put her arms around his
neck and say — " Tom, AVallie has turn — is you
gad?" And then she went on so cheerily, all
the happier that she had not overlooked poor
pussie, in her own delight. It was no wonder
that the affectionate cheerful little creature,
became so inexpressibly dear, not only to the
family circle, but to relatives and neighbors,
to all indeed who knew her.
Early in the spring of 1869, God sent the
little sister who was henceforth to be the joy
The Valley of Life, ^y
of her life. This babe was of quite a different
type, of an exceeding!}^ delicate, nervous or-
ganization, sensitive and shy in an uncommon
degree. She was quite a contrast to the brave
baby Lou la.
The rector of the parish baptized her, July
18th, 1869, by the name of Elizabeth, which
was soon contracted to Bessie or Bess.
The dear lamb behaved very sweetly, making
no objection when the rector took her in his
arms, and smiled when the sin- cleansing waters
flowed over her forehead and she was signed as
one of Christ's flock. Truly the ''Seal of
Heaven" was on both of these little ones
*' from their birth." That all must allow who
can look back, and see them as they walked
hand in hand through life's valley, the peace
of God in their hearts, and the silver cross, the
mark of the redeemed, always shining to
angel ken, upon their fair white brows.
In her babyhood the little Bessie was a per-
fect mimosa plant, shrinking from the touch of
even the friendliest hand that was not of the
home circle. No entreaty, no playful wile
could tempt her from her mother's arms.
38 The Happy Valley,
After all plans that ingenuity could invent had
been tested, one would be obliged to leave her
there, where only she appeared perfectly at
rest, with her head lying on her mother's-
shoulder, nestled closely, looking shyly out at
you from her half-veiled eyes, the long dark
lashes probably moistened wirh tears ; and
though one could not but lov.^ tiie tender little
creature, still this peculiarity prevented her
from being such a general favorite as the frank,,
The lirst years of her life, her nerves being sO'
excitable, it followed in natural consequence
that her health was uncertain, and the frail
delicate blossom needed watchful and ever
fostering care. She loved all her home folk s,
but the dear mother and little sister were the
tiny baby's special delight — to rest in the
arms of one, and watch the gambols of the
other, her state of entire satisfaction and en-
joyment. And so their gentle lives rolled on
until they grew large enough to play out of
doors, when a new world of happiness was
opened to them in the llower-life of the dear
old garden, and with which they became so-
The Valley of Life. 39
identified, Loula especially, that recollections
of them are indissolnbly interwoven with each
plant and bush and fragrant bloom.
Gradually Bessie gained in strength, and
they were so very happy together at their in-
nocent play; though, through her earlier years,
she always liked to keep the "sweet mother"
in sight if possible. They were not at any time
of their lives, or in any sense like the morbid,
prematurely wise children we read of ; they
were just like other children except in an
under current of religious feeling, which was
They were trained as soon as they could
understand, to know and believe that they
were God's children. Christian children by
virtue of their baptism, signed and sealed to
His loving service, and they always rested in
that belief. Probably no shadow of a doubt
ever crossed their minds but that they were in
very truth and reality the lambs of the Good
They were led daily to bow upon their knees,
and make their wants known to their Heaven-
ly Father, and they loved to pray. Although
40 The Happy Valley.
living in such an isolated position that they
were deprived of the educating influence of the
continued services of the Church, service beinor
held in the Yalley only once in each month,
still they were kept in constant remembrance
of the teachings of the Churcli ; as the "sweet
mother" ever}^ Lord's Day, with lier boys
around her, went over the Psalter and Lessons
and Catechism, doing all that could be done to
make up for the want of sanctuary privileges
which she so deeply deplored ; taking for them
the Church papers, making them soldiers of
Dr. Twing's "Army," keeping the mite chest
in sight, and celebrating with them the festi-
vals of the Holy Year. They took great inter-
est in the sufferings and patience of ''Doris,"
and were loving and frequent contributors to
the "Churchman's Cot."
It was a touching sight and a fearful I'eproof
to those who live so neglectfully within sound
of the church bells, to see how a cliurch life
was maintained in this home, so far away in this
quiet valley. And the Great Head of the
Church has accepted and blessed the effort, in
showing what a gracious influence the training
The Valley of Life, 41
exerted on these little ones, giving to them,
even in their early years, fully rounded and
healthily developed Christian characters.
There are surely no ways so certain in their
final ending as the patlis laid out for little feet
to walk in by the teaching of the Holy Catholic
Church. Would not the germ of spiritual life
imparted at Baptism, grow and flourish and
bring forth fruit with more certainty, if mothers
felt their resiDonsibility more earnestly, and
kept day by day closely in the good old ways,
as they lead their little ones on in the paths
of Christian duty ?
These darlings too, by the circumstances that
surrounded them, were cut off from the contam-
inating influences of society. Their lives were
pure and bright as that of the birds that flitted
and sang around them ; they knew nothing of
the feverish excitements that sap out the phys-
ical vitality of city children, and brush the love-
ly purple bloom from off the fruit of their lives.
Fashion, late hours, and glare of gas, were all
unknown to them. They knew no pleasures
but such as were life-giving to soul and body.
The light in which they revelled, was that of
42 The Happy Valley,
God's blessed sunshine ; their laces and jewels
were buds and flowers, and their dance the gay
romp on the green grass, with the bird voices
for music. Ah, was not the life path for them
indeed laid through a Happy Valley ?
As Loula grew she developed the most in-
tense love for flowers; tliey appeared to be liv-
ing things to her ; she drank in their s})irit and
understood the sentiments they breathed. She
w^ould stand with dreamy eyes gazing upon a
pure white lily, or would seem to be touched
with a rapturous exstacy by the crimson petals
of arose— and again she would laugh and shout
in merry glee at the quaint faces of the ])ansies
or the funny little hooded visages of the sweet
peas. One could fancy that like "Eva the sin-
less child" of the old poem, she saw the flower
spirits and lived and loved and laughed and
talked with them.
She flitted about the garden like a humming
bird, searching around every plant and bush,
and was the flrst to spy a new bud coming, or
a flower unfolded, and then she would come
bounding in the house with the intelligence,
her clear bright eyes aglow with pleasure, and
The Valley of Life, 43
some one had to go out to enjoy the new-found
treasure with her.
In the sprmg of 1873 the" sweet mother" being
very much out of health, she went to pass some
time at her father's house at E , and be
under the care of a physician there. Loula
was at this time a little more than six years
old, and accompanied her mother and cousin,
while four-year-old Bessie was left at home in
the care of her loving auntie.
They feared the little one would grieve over-
muclij but she did not. She attached herself
closely to her papa, following him everywhere,
would expect him to carry her where the way
was too long or too rough for little feet, and
was particularly delighted at being set upon
the plough when the men were ploughing.
Her papa put a little calf in the yard for her
amusement, and in playing with it she took
the greatest satisfaction. She talked to it as if
it were another child, and the animal became
devoted to the frail little girl. This calf was
sent, as is the custom in that section, up to the
mountain pastures for the summer. Here it ran
for months and became very wild, but when it
44 The Happy Valley.
was brought home again in the autumn it re-
cognized its playmate of the spring-time, and
was entirely gentle to her, letting her lead it
about wherever she wished.
The visit to E , the companionship of the
several families of little cousins, and the many
delights that a child always finds in the home
of its grandparents. Lulu enjoyed to the full ;
but amid all she found work to do for her dear
While she was staying at the house of her
aunt, a little boy, a child of one of the tenants
on the place, would persist in coming in the
3^ard to play with Loula and her cousins. He
was a fine stout-looking child, but very bad
and disobedient. He was forbidden to come
there, but he was determined to be with Loula,
and no commands of Mrs. C , the lady of
the house, or threats from his mother, could
keep him away.
Loula was always gentle and kind to him,
and although her mother had every confidence
in her little girl, still she could not help, know-
ing what a naughty child he was, feeling some-
what worried at xXwxx being so much together.
The Valley of Life. 45
Day after day they would go away together
for a time, the family knew not where, until
finally Loula's mamma sent her cousin L
to seek for them and see what they were doing.
After some search she heard their voices in a
room in a distant corner of the house. She lis-
tened quietly to hear what they were talking
about, and she heard Loula telling poor little
Jim about the blessed Jesus, how He came
down from His beautiful home, how He lived
with the people in this world, hoAv He loved
little children if they were good, and how He
died. — Jim listened as if entranced while she
so sweetly and earnestly told him the old, old
Of course, the listener withdrew and left the
child to her saintly work. Still day after day
he came, and they went away together, doubt-
less to recount the same beautiful story over
and over again. No one spoke to Loula about
it. She however told her mother one day that
poor little Jim never heard of Jesus until she
told him of Him.
After they returned home, they received news
of his sudden death. He died of croup after a
46 The Happy Valley.
very short illness. Loula seemed so very glad
and thankful that she had done what she could
for the ignorant child, and said with much pleas-
ure, "Mother, I am so glad I told him about Je-
sus, and that I read to him in that little **Pee})
of Day" book at aunty's, about God."'
During this sojourn at E , she was invit-
ed by two of her cousins to a dolls" tea party.
The mother of the little cousins had baked
cakes for them, and the table was very prettily
set out. After they had taken their seats, and aU
was settled in order, the litt'.egiris began, tak-
ing pattern probably from what they had heard
older folks say on similar occasions, to apolo-
gize for their cakes, and other things, finding
fault with them, wishing they were better, and
the like expressions. Loula seemed troubled,
and said in her sweet direct way, ' ' Oh, I think
it is all so nice ;" and then, the tears coming
in her blue eyes, in the midst of all her happi-
ness, she said, " Just think, there are so many
poor little children who would be so glad to
get these good things, who never have any-
thing like it in all their lives."
These incidents show her tender feeling for
The Valley of Life. 47
others less favored than herself, both in tem-
poral and spiritual things ; always thoughtful
of others, always unconscious of self. This
perfect forge tfulness of herself was a marked
characteristic, and it gave her a quiet dignity
and self-possession of manner that was very
On her seventh birthday her mamma gave
her a little book entitled, ''Heavenward Paths
for Little Feet.'" This book was ever after
her daily companion, and when her mamma
was too unwell to go with her, she would take
her littie sister by the hand, and the two
precious ones would go to their devotions,
Loula reading the lessons and the prayers.
One time, not long after the book was given
her, she was quite ill for a short tim^, and she
surprised her mother, by repeating so many
appropriate verses from it, when she had not
the least idea the child had learned them.
"Mother," she said, " the verses in my little
book are very beautiful. I have been think-
ing of them."
48 The Happy Valley,
**Tis Jesus sends us sickness,
So when in pain or ill,
I'll try to bear it meekly,
Because it is His will.
"I'll think of Him who suffered
Upon the cross for me,
Can I not bear a little,
My blessed Lord, for Thee ?
*' It is Thy love that makes me
To leave my merry play.
To lie here still and quiet,
And give up my own "way,
*'Lord Jesus, give me patience,
Lord Jesus, give me love,
Lord Jesus, give hereafter
A life with Thee above.''
Later in the evening she said, "Mother, these
verses are so beautiful :
"Through the night Thy Presence cheers us,
In Thy shadow may we sleep,
That no evil may come near us.
Watch let angels round us keep.
"In Thine arms, O Father, lying,
Safe and blessed may we be.
Sleeping as we would be dying,
With our faces turned to Thee."
The Valley of Life, 49
'^That is so beautiful, mother,
' With our faces turned to Thee: "
Her mother was coniiiied to her bed for
many months by illness, and every day she
would bring her little book to read and pray
by her bedside. No matter who was in the
room, she had no self-consciousness ; she went
on quietly with her usual directness of aim,
allowing nothing to interfere or to divert her
from the performance of her duty.
There are touching reminiscences connected
with her ministrations and instructions to a
poor old woman, Chaney A , who lived in
a cabin on her father's plantation, and did
spinning and knitting for the family.
She had been a vile sinner in her youth, and
had a sad life behind her. Age was now press-
ing upon her, and she v/as making an effort
for a better life, in which the gentle mistress
at the " Fort " was ever ready to help her.
Loula took an especial delight in going to
the lonely cabin, to take bodily comforts to
the needy woman, and also to try to lead her
in the ways o-f righteousness and truth. She
50 The Happy Valley.
was so utterl}^ ignorant, so untaught in spirit-
ual things, that the little child, so calm and
trustful, sat before her like a mentor.
She always took with her the little book,
^'Heavenward Paths,'' and the old woman
looked for it, and asked for it. Reading from
that gave her foundation for the various teach-
ings she employed, and her old pupil grew in
grace under her simple instructions.
One day her dear auntie went with her on
one of these errands of love and mercy.
Arriving at the cabin, she thought that Loula
might be more fre ' to talk if she left her alcne,
so she took the pail and Avent to the spring
for some fresh cool water. AVhen she returned
she lingered awhile outside, and she heard
Loula reading :
"And God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes ;" and then she added in explana-
tion, ''You know that is when we get to
Old Chaney sat rocking back and forth and
weeping. The child continued :
" And there mil be no night there, either ;"
The Valley of Life. 5'
"isn't that delightful r "and there will be
no pain there."
The old woman asked wonderingly, Loula,
is that so ("
Thus the precious child led the poor creature
on in a contemplation of the promised ]oys of
Heaven, and made it all seem so beautiful to
her. , , „.
One of Chaney's nieces says that she was at
her aunt's cabin at one time when Loulacame,
and that she too retired, lest she should em-
barrass the little girl, but that she heard her
talking so sweetly she thought she must go m
acrain, which she did, but that her presence
did not seem to confuse her in the least, and
that she went on reading and teaching as if no
one was by. No thought of self found a place
in her mind at such times; she was all ab-
sorbed in the importance of the themes of
which she was reading or speaking. At tHis
visit she also taught the old woman a beauti-
ful little prayer, about persons in affliction,
which she told her she must say every night.
This same niece also relates that at one time,
when the two little girls came together to the
52 The Happy Valley,
cabin, her aunt lay sick in bed, and when they
approached her bedside she stretched out her
arms and they both knelt, while she placed
her toil-worn hands upon their fair young
heads, and blessed them ! Then Loula asked if
she should read, and Bessie L oked about for
something to feed the cat. She found noth-
ing eatable but some dry hard bread.
The next day they came back, and Bessie
brought some meat with her from home to feed
the half-starved pussie, but hid it, and called
the cat aside to feed it without Chaney's
knowledge, lest her feelings should be hurt
that she had ffelt it was necessary to bring
food from home for her pet.
In the parlor of the old mansion there hangs
a large engraving of the Crucifixion. On one
occasion Loula led old Chaney in to see it, and
explained it to her, in her own peculiar way,
so childlike, and yet so jDlain and forci-
She gazed on the jncture, and listened to the
story, and it all seemed to come home to her
heart and understanding ; and she bowed down
and wept bitterly, exclaiming, ''He died for
The Valley of Life. 53
me,'' while the child looked on with an ex-
pression of half wonder in her eyes.
It was a recital of that which she had known
always ; it was a part of her life, interwoven .
with every recollection. Her life was marked
and divided by Christmas, and Easter and
Trinity, her weeks by the ever recurring Lord's
Day, her days opening ar.d closing with a
•season of communion with this blessed Saviour ;
and here was a woman of mature years, to
whom it was all new ; to whom she, a little
child, was revealing it step by step, and to
whose darkened mind it came but dimly, the
eyes of whose spirit seemed to see only, '' men,
as trees walking."
Thanks be to God, that led by the little
<5hild, there is hope that she was taken out of
the darkness of this spiritual night into the
perfect day, and rested beneath the healing
rays of the Sun of Eighteousness.
Of what infinite value in a home is a holy
picture. Words can never impress a scene or
a truth on the heart of a child, as does the
fixed reDresentation before its eyes every day,
if so be that thp picture is a good and reverent
54 ^/^^ Happy Valley.
one ; and the memory of such a window of
Heaven upon the walls of the early home, may
be a guiding and preserving star through life.
This poor woman at last became so ill, that
she needed constant care and could not be left
any longer alone, and she was removed some
distance away to the home of her son, where,
after months of bitter suffering, she died.
It was the privilege of the writer to minister
to her during her last days. She was still very
ignorant, but humble and patient, and I never
saw her that she did not talk of "that blessed
child." It was the one unfulfilled wish of her
heart, that she might look upon her face once
more before she passed away. She seemed to
apprehend the atonement of the Saviour, to
put her trust fully in His merits, and to be
truly and sincerely penitent for the short-com-
ings and sins of her life.
Anything that I read to her, that she recog-
nized as having been heard before from l/oula's
lips, would light up her wasted features. She
had a sweet saintly old face, that must have
been beautiful in her youth. She was very
fond of the hymn " Rock of Ages," and I read
The Valley of Life. 55
it to her oft 3:1 Sho was to have received the
Holy Comm union the next dciy after I paid
her my last visit, but ere the d.iy dawned, the
Lord had called her away. We trust she is
one of those who will drink new wine with
Him hi His eternal and glorious kingdom.
Her funeral was a sad one. It was held in
the parish church. Only a few present, a rainy
day, with thunder continually muttering in
the distance. As she had been lei to the
Saviour's feet by a little child, it was meet
tha' a little child's voice, a clear, pure boy's
soprano, should sing over her remains, her
favorite " Rock of Ages," and it seemed like
a song of triumph as the tones rang out so
tenderly and so full of expression.
*' 'Rock of ages, cleft for me,'
Sung above a coffin lid,
Underneath all restfully
All life's joys and sorrows hid.
Never more, O storm-tossed soul,
Never more from Aviad and tide,
Never more from billov.'s' roll,
Wilt thou need thyself to hide.
56 The Happy Valley.
Could the sightless, sunken eyes,
Closed beneath the soft gray hair,
Could the mute and stiffened lips
Move again in pleading prayer —
Still, aye still, the words would be,
*Let me hide myself in Thee.' "
As we stood at the grave, while the holy-
office of the Church was being said, a tierce
thunder storm broke over us, and the noise of
the thunder mingled with that of the falling
rain, was louder than the rector's voice.
There she lies, sleeping upon an eastern slope
in the God' s-acre, her face turned toward the
rising sun, and we trust that her ransomed
spirit will be a star in dear Loula' s crown oi re-
joicing, for all eternity.
In the autumn of 1873, another baby brother
was added to the household group. When
the little girls were taken in to see the new
comer, they were greatly astonished ; Loula
was deeply affected, but as soon as she couid
speak, she said, "Mother, we will bring tJds
boy up right, we will bring him up for God."
And faithfully did both little sisters strive for
that end. They taught him, constantly, such
The Valley of Life, 57
things as they could to help him to be a good
child, and always told him over and ove?, that
he was Jesus' little lamb. They loved him
and prayed for him, and w^ere so much delight-
ed with his innocent baby ways.
In the summer of 1875, the writer spont sev-
eral weeks at the old mansion. In daily
intercourse with these little children, I learned
to love them very dearly, although they had
long lain near my heart ; still I saw more of
them, and could study their simple every-day
life, and understand their characters as I had
never been able to do before. Loula was the
most brave, practical and helpful of the two ;
Bessie the most imaginative. Both were gen-
tle, obedient and affectionate.
They always met me when I came out of my
room irt the morning, so cheerfully, with
freshly-gathered flowers and a sweet greeting,
I used frequently to take them both, and
with a book, perhaps, in my hand, go out in
the graveyard and sit down there to read and
think. They would play about me quietly,
gathering flowers or grasses, and reading the
inscriptions on the tombstones.
58 The Happy Valley,
Loiila once called my attention to a little
stone, and I read thereon the name of
Daughter of William Lenoir,
Born Feb. loth, 1783,
Died March 22nd, 1785."
She said, ' ' This baby has lain here a long
I replied, ' ' Yes, Loiila, ninety years ; and its
spirit has been ninety years in Paradise.''
She gazed thoughtfully upon the turf-clad
mound for a few moments, and then asked,
"Do you think she has groTVTi old there, or
is she a little baby yet ?'•
I saw how her mind had grasped the two
facts — that of the tiny body lying here in
the little grave at our feet, so small, '* only a
foot or two at most of star-daisied sod," and
the lapse of ninety years, which must seem
such a long period to the ideas of a child, con-
necting with it the thought of a person ninety
years of age ; and it was indeed a perplexing
problem for the youthful hit^'llect. We sat
down then under a cedar trep, and talked a
The Valley of Life. 59
long time about the blessed dead in Paradise,
and of their continual progression without age
or decay of faculties, and I was struck with
the ready comj)rehension she evinced, not
sajdng very much, but drinking in all I said on
the subject with a clearness of perception, as
I could realize from her few remarks and
answers to the questions put to her, that
gratified me very much.
She also assisted me in making a copy of
the epitaph from Gen. Lenoir's tomb-stone,
which is already recorded in these pages.
The marble has crumbled and the edges of
the letters worn off, so that they have become
very illegible. We had to go out in the bright
sunshine to decipher them, and she took great
interest in tracing them with her finger and
spelling out for me w r 1 after word.
She was a very comp-.mionable child, and
without impressing one with the least idea of
precociousness or forwardness, she would, in
an unassuming way, prove herself excellent
company even to a grown person.
On a walk she sav/ everything that was beau-
tiful ; wild flowers, a richly tinted leaf, a shin-
6o The Happy Valley.
ing stone, the lichens upon the rocks, the min-
nows and darting bugs nijon the water ; all the
varied objects and incidents gave her so much
pleasure, and she spoke of them so intelli-
One of the pets of the plantation was ' ' Old
Button." He was an Indian pony, a short,
stout-built animal with a shaggy mane, that
had formerly been the property of Loula's
grandfather. He was in his ripe old age, good-
natured and faithful, and he afforded the little
girls much amusement.
They would go to the stable and bring him
out themselves, lead him to the block, put a
sheep-skin across his back, then both mount
him, andaway they would go down to the river
bank to give him drink. They would crawl
over him and under him, tumble about and
frolic with him, laughing merrily without a
thought of fear.
As "The Fort" is five miles or more from
the post-office, it is the custom of the good
cousin who lives at "Palmyra," the fine old
hom-^stead of G-en. P . when he sends for
his own mail, to bring that for "The Fort," as
The Valley of Life. 6i
far as his house, which is about half way, and
it is sent for there. Loula used often in pleas-
ant weather to go up for it on Old Button.
The quaint little maiden with a riding-skirt
over her dress, a white sun-bonnet on, and a
calico bag hanging on the horn of the saddle,
would ride off quietly, fording the Yadkin on
the way, and, after maldng a call, looking at
her cousin's llowers, or any other object of in-
terest that the time might present, return with
the papers and letters in the bag, enjoying her
ride of four or five miles so much.
Old Button became useless the last year of
his life, but he was well cared for until he de-
parted, full of years and of honors, on the 21st
of October, 1876, in the thirty-first year of his
In the spring of 1875, when Bessie was en-
tering her seventh year, it was judged advisa-
ble to send her to school. It seemed almost
cruel to make the shrinking, timid child go
away from home, and from her mother, and
stay all day with strangers, but it was doubt-
less just what she needed to counteract these
peculiarities and to cultivate a degree of self-
62 The Happy Valley.
reliance in her. Lou la took such good care of
her, and did everything to encourage her, still
it came very hard.
One morning I remember they started off,
Bessie going very unwillingly, after we had
talked to her of the beauty of being a " school-
girl," and tried to make the school-room seem
attractive to her. Soon Loula returned alone,
with a very troubled face, telling her mother
that Bessie was sitting down by the creek cry-
ing ; that she could not induce her to tell her
what for, or to go any farther. She was told
to go and bring her back, which she did.
When she came in she rushed to her mother
and threw her arms about her neck, saying :
'' Mother, I am not a naughty girl, but I
was just thinking if anything happened to
you or the baby while I was away, Avhat
should I do, and I could not go on." And
she sobbed passionately.
The mother's eyes filled with tears, and it
would only have been obeying the dictates of
her yearning heart, if she had given up to the
feeling, and kept the trembling little creature
at her side ; but she felt that it was a decisive
The Valley of Life. 63
moment, and after soothing her somewhat,
she firmly compelled her to go on with her
sister to school.
She came home in the evening very bright
and cheerful, and yielded the succeeding days
quietly to the necessity laid upon her, though
I often observed a sigh, and a looking back as
if she fain would stay by "mother and the
baby," if she could be allowed to do so.
Her imagination was vivid, and I noticed
that in her little plays she seemed to make the
childish jDretences strong realises. Loulawas
not without a fanciful vein in her character,
but the dividing line between fact and fancy
was more clearly defined in her mind, and
the ''make believes" never became as real to
her as to her little sister.
I heard the child sobbing out in the porch
one day, and fearing 3 he was hurt, went out to
comfort her. On asking,
' ' Bessie, what is the matter ?' ' she said —
"Mother has killed my baby."
This was all she would tell me, but Loula
came and explained, that she had made a
baby for Bess by tying a string around the
64 The Happy Valley,
end of tlie cradle pillow, and dressing it up in
the soiled clothes of the little brother ; that
Bessie had rocked it to sleep in the cradle and
left it while she went in the garden for a time.
During her absence her mamma, in gathering
up the wash for the servant, had taken the
clothes off the pillow, shaken it up and put it in
its place ; and when the child returned to the
cradle she found her play broken up. At once
she commenced crying, with the exclamation :
''Mother has killed my baby I" and— Loula
said — refused to be comforted. She was not in
any way out of temper about it, but seemed
perfectly . heart-broken, and only wept the
more as we tried to divert her mind to other
things. At last her auntie took her away up-
stairs, where she sobbed herself to sleep. As
she grew older this sensitiveness was in a
measure overcome ; she was more unifonnly
cheerful, less shy, and enjoyed everything so
much. She became plu.up and rosy and
graceful, and the two little sisters were very
They Avere quite a contrast in personal ap-
pearance as well as in character.
The Valley of Lije. 65
Loiila was a perfect blonde. Very fair hair,
straight and fine and soft as silk ; a complex-
ion of pearly whiteness, upon which the rosy
tints were like the hues of her own beloved
blush-roses. Her eyes were light blue, wide,
very wide open, clear as a mountain lake,
with an expression of honest frankness in
them, toned down at times by a far-off,
dreamy look, as shades of thought passed
over her mind, but always looking square at
one when she spoke or was being spoken to.
Her figure was healthily developed, and the
atmosphere surrounding her was restful and
Bessie had brown hair, soft, wavy and
abundant. Her eyes were an undefined gray,
over which the long dark lashes always cast a
shadow. Her complexion was pure and waxen,
and her expression pensive and very sweet. In
feature she was the most beautiful of the two,
and her whole air was one of tenderness and
For years Loula sat as the little priestess at
the table to call down the blessing of God upon
the family meals. The duty was performed
66 The Happy Valley.
with grave and reverent earnestness. She used
several forms, varying as she desired, some of
them in verse :
" Be present at our table, Lord,
Be here and every where adored ;
These creatures bless, and grant that we
May feast in Paradise with Thee.''
"We thank Thee, Lord, for tiiis our food,
And more because of Jesus' blood ;
Let manna to our souls be given,
The Bread of Life, sent down from Heaven."
" Come, good Lord, and be our Guest,
What Thou hast given, by Thee be blest.
The spirit of i^rayer really lived in these
little children. Bessie was particularly a child
of i^rayer. She was never satisfied until she
had been with her mother to the place where it
was their custom to retire for devotion, and
after the sacred obligation had been performed,
she would seem so happy, and go singing away.
Not long before the close of her life she went
with her mother several miles from home to
visit some relatives. In the hurry of getting
The Valley of Life. 67
off at an early liour, the inoruing prayers to-
gether were neglected; but as soon as they
reached their destination, and the greetings
were over, she came and whispered, ''Mother,
let us go and say our prayers ; we did not say
them this morning." And she could not be
satisfied until they had sought a place of re-
tirement and offered up the usual supplica-
tions to the Heavenly Father's throne. Then,
with His benediction on her youthful head, she
was ready to enter into the enjoyment of the
And how they loved the Church services, the
dear voices joining clearly in the responses,
while their whole demeanor was so reverent
But the simple tale of the beautiful life-
journey is drawing to a close. It was all
brightness to the end.
On Friday, the 31st day of August, 1877, the
darlings came home from school for the last
time— ah, who could know that it was the last
time— that all life's lessons were learned, and
earth' s schooling done \
Saturday morning, Sept. 1st, Loula said,
68 The Happy Valley.
'' Mother, we have been in school all the week,
and now we must have this whole day to play
with our dolls, can't we T'
Having the mother' s hearty assent, they skip-
ped off so delighted. How that mother's heart
was touched, when, weeks after, she gathered
courage to go into that doll-room, where every-
thing remained just as they had left it at even-
ing after that happy play-day, only a mother
who has been herself bereaved can understand.
They had quantities of rag dolls, made by their
own deft little fingers, and had families ar-
ranged in various positions. The garments they
had been making on that Saturday lay there
with the needles at the last stitch— how unut-
terably sad the sight to poor human weakness !
— but sweet the thought that the last day was
one of such innocent pleasure.
The sun went down. The little feet had fin-
ished their journey, and would no more be
stained with the dust of earth. They were
treading in that solemn border land, upon the
verge of the purple shadow, but all eyes were
The week closed as other weeks. No sound
The Valley of Life, 69
was on earth or in air to warn of the events of
the week to come.
The good-nights were spoken, the kisses giv-
en, the evening prayers said, and the children /
and the household slept.
The angels were setting the golden gates
ajar ; the ministering spirits were receiving
their commissions to stand by the bed of suf-
fering ; loving ones in paradise were in ex-
pectant waiting, to welcome to their midst two
more redeemed ; but in the old home in the
Happy Valley, untouched by apprehension or
by fear, the children and the household slept.
"■ God keeps a niche
In Heaven to hold our idols; and albeit
He brake them to our faces, and denied
That our close kisses should impair their white—
I know we shall behold them raised, complete —
The dust swept from their beauty — glorified,
New memnons singing in the great God light.''
THE VALLEY OF
•'So oft the doing (.f God's will
Our foolish wills undoeth I
And yet what idle dream breaks ill
Which morning light subdueth ?
And who would murmur and misdoubt
When God's great sunrise finds him out? "
?f HE morning of the Lord's Day broke
over the mountains. That '' day of
rest and gladness,'- so full of heav-
enly hope and comfort. Countless voices had
been raising up the prayer, in the far east,
and repeated o'er and o'er again as the king
of day rolled on in sj)lendor, until at last his
rays tinted the tree -tops on the heights that
bounded the "Happy Yalley ;" — that prayer
so needed by this family group, upon whom
a shadow, so dark as to be felt at midday, was
falling. ''Give them patience under their suf-
ferings, and a happy issue out of all their
The Valley of the Shadow. 71
afflictions ; and this we ask for Jesns Christ
What a blessed thought, when the day
dawns upon us after a night of sorrow, that the
wave of pi-ayer that is ever encircling the earth
is rollino- on to me^t 11s with the morning light,
and that it is ever ceaselessly arising in our
behalf Is not that the sacred fire that ever
burns before Jehovah, the lamp that never goes
out ■>' Those blessed prayers of the Holy Cath-
olic Church for all sorts and conditions of men,
rolling on in solemn grandeur, ' ' girding eartli_,
filling the air, until the round world is encir-
cled as with an aureole.
The soul that in its dark hours can grasp
this fact and realize itself a unit with the
beseeching hosts of God's people, must surely
find sweet consolation in it. It leaves no place
for loneliness, for we are one with millions who
are praying with and for us, and there is no
moment in the cycle of the day when there is
not a priest somewhere leading his people in
And so the Lord's day morning broke. A
Sabbath benediction rested upon the hills,
72 The Happy Valley.
and the Valley wore its usual smile of
The household awaked to its accusronied
life, and the morning duties went on.
At the breakfast table Loula told her mother
that about midnight her throat rommeaced
feeling uncomfortable and was a little sore ;
but she did not complain much, and seemed
very cheerful. After breakfast, however, her
mother looked into her throat, and she discov-
ered a small vrhite speck — ah, fatal plague
spot I— and told her she thought she had a
small ulcer there.
She did not appear to feel very well as the
morning Avore on, and after lying awhile on
her mother's bed, went np-stairs to her room,
and did not come down to dinner. One of
her brothers, who attended school at a dis-
tance, was at home, and he waited upon her
so gladly, taking her dinner up to her, which
Soon after, he left, as he had to return to be
at school on Monday morning. He went up
and kissed Loula good-bye, and took sweet
Bessie in his aims, kissed her, and told her
The Valley of the Shadow. 73
not to get sick, and went away. What would
have been his feelings if he had known he
would never see their loved faces again !
Her mother continued treating her with the
ordinary household remedies, and soon after
the brother had gone she looked in her throat
again, when she found that the speck had
spread and appeared different from anything
she liad ever S' en. Her brother Walter saw it
too, and at onco insisted upon going for the
doctor. He saddled his horse and started for
the nearest physician, who lived ten miles
away, over the mountain. AYhile he was gone
she coughed up the membrane and seemed to
a great extent relieved.
Bessie played with the baby brother most
of the day, and about nightfall she told her
mother with tears in her eyes that she felt
very badly, and her throat was sore.
When the doctor came, in the evening, he
did not seem t ) be alarmed about them, and
quieted the mother when she expressed her
fears that it was diphtheria. Walter was soon
taken with similar symptoms, and he pre-
scribed for all three.
74 The Happy Valley,
At midnight Bessie's symptoms became ag-
gravated. She suffered very much from nausea,
and her throat was so painful, but she was per-
fectly meek and submissive. Slie allowr^d her
throat to be washed, and took very bitter medi-
cine uncomplainingly. None saw one sign of
impatience or heard one murmur during her ill-
All day Monday she talked and noticed ev-
erything. In the morning and in the evening
she asked, '' Mother, let's say our prayers." She
seemed to enjoy the devotions so much and was
peaceful and satisfied in them. The mother
having slept none the night before, left the chil-
dren in care of the rest of the family and went
to bed on Monday night. Dui-ing the night
the disease made rapid pi'ogi-ess upon Bessie.
When her mother came down to her in the
morning she saw it, and felt almost paralyzed
with the fear that her gentle little darling was
indeed going from her.
She mopped out the poor swollen throat,
which painful operation the child endured so
patiently, gave her the bitter medicine, which
The Valley of the Shadow. 75
she took willingly, a.id tlien with a sweet smile
came that touching refiain— _
'' iSIow, mother, let's say our prayers.
She repeated distinctly tlie prayers herselt,
saying every word after her mother, and then
was comforL and h.y qnietly sufiering whde
the poor mother' s heart was well nigh breaking.
She dared not rebel—
" But slie must weep,
As her pale placi.l martyr sinks to sleep,
Teaching so well and silently,
How at the Shephcr.i's call the lamb should d.e.
AH day Monday Loula was getting on luite
^^ell, though her symptoms were more alarm-
ing from the first than her little sister s. She
wi bright and cheerful, and so loving to
Tabou't her, thankful for -ery little kind-
ness and attention, and so troubled that she
could not be up and helping the rest.
On Tuesday morning, when the -ndition o
the little one became hopeless her mother
thought it best to tell her of it, deeming
better that she should know the sorrow as it
developed, than to keep her in ignorance of
76 The Happy Valley,
the facts, and have hei- unprepared for what
she saw must follow ; so on Tuesday, when she
asked after Bessie, she told her, "Bessie is
Loula replied —
" Oh, precious mother, I am sure that sweet
Bessie is ready to die, for last Friday morning
as we lay in our little bed, she put her arms
around my neck and told me she did not think
she would stay liere much longer."
Her mother asked —
"Darling, do you think she wanted to die?"
' "Oh, yes," she replied, "she said she wanted
to go to Heaven."
During Tuesday morning little Bessie failed
rapidly, and her utterance was much obstruct-
ed. Near noontide, just before she became
speechless, again, and for the last time, she
said, "Mother, let us go round to the other
house and say our prayers."
She desired to go to the wonted place where
their daily devotions were offered up. Her
mother reminded her that God was right at her
side, and could hear her as well there as else-
where, and she was content. This call to prayer
The Valley of the Shadow, 77
were the last words she spoke ; she remained
speechless, though for a time conscious.
A little while before she breathed her last,
the stricken mother went up-stairs to see Lou-
la. When she started to come down again,
Loula said —
"Dear mother, tell Bessie good-bye for me."
The Holy Comforter surely supported lier as
she went down to her bedside, and asked the
precious child, if she knew her mother. The
little sufferer opened her eyes and gazed upon
her, and then she told her that Loula wished
her to tell her "good-bye" — and she knelt
down and asked the Heavenly Father to re-
ceive the departing spirit ; and was then com-
pelled to leave the room, after which she saw
her no more alive.
Oh, the blessed power and strength of the
religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, that could
support this timid, shrinking child, and lead
her on so calmy and trustingly down into the
dark Valley of the Shadow of Death ! Strong
men, old Christians, looked on wonderingly to
see this little one, all conscious of her condition,
leaving her earth-life, and all that had made
78 The Happy Valley.
that life so intensely dear, leaving home and
mother, and all to which she had clung with
such tenacity, without a murmur, going out to
the spirit world so fearlessly. It was the lamb
reclining on the Good Shepherd's bosom, as
He bore it safely through the darkness to the
green pastures of the Better Land.
Just before she parsed away, she looked
steadily, and for a moment affrightedly behind
the bed, as if she saw something which terri-
fied her, and then she pulled up the bed
clothes over her face. Her papa drew them
away, and when she looked up again, she
seemed to see only a vision of beauty, for lier
face fairly shone with exstatic delight, and the
rapturous smile remained upon the marble face
until it was hidden from mortal view.
And so the gentle spirit fled, peacefu]l3\ ^^av-
ing the very impress of lieavenly joy, the earn-
est of answered prayeis, upon her countenance,
at five o'clock on Tuesday evening, September
During Tuesday night Loula became desper-
ately ill. She had been impressed with the idea
from the first that she would never recover, but
The Valley of the Shadow. 79
now it seemed to be revealed to her as a certaiu-
tv She was sufieri.ig fearftrlly, her throat
swelling both sides, and she told h"- cou..n
who was nttrsing her, that she -uld su>vly
die ; but they tried to keep her from talking
'^Wednesday morning, she said. "Cousin
Lou, I am going to die. God has told me
" He has made me know it."
" Well. Loula, if God should call you away,
would you be willing to go r'
She quietly folded her hands and rephed
with great earnestness, "Fer/ec%."
Presently, raising up in bed, she asked,
.'Have I been too wicked r When her cousin
assured her that Christ could forgive «Z? stn,
she rejoined, " Dear Jestrs, if He will take me,
I am ready to go." She also said, soon after ;
"Cousin Lou, I have seen a beautiful angel
with a face like my mother's, and it wanted me
to go to Heaven to live ;" and then, with wide
open eyes and in a whisper, she added, and it
wants Bess too." And again she said, "I saw
8o The Happy Valley,
cousin Carrie (a cousin who had been dead for
some time), and oh, I loved her so much !" she
asked for her father, and after expressing the
most tender affection for him, told him, " Dear
papa, lam going to die, and I want to tell you
what to put on my tombstone. " We love him
because He once loved us. "
The family could not bear to think of giving
her up. The sweet, frail Bessie had always
seemed a blossom more fitted for the airs of
Paradise than for this rough storm-tossed
world, and it had been a familiar thought
with many that she might be early called away ;
but Loula, so strong, so brave, so cheerful and
helj)ful, for her, nothing but a life of loving
usefulness was expected. No one ever ima-
gined she might die. They could not give her
up. Her cousin said —
''But Loula, we hope you are not going
to die ; be willing to live to comfort your
"Yes,*' she replied, "I would be a comfort to
my mother, and I might help another soul to
Heaven ; but if I should grow up wicked I
should be sorry I did not die now."
The Valley of the Shadow, 8i
After a while slie asked, '' Can't my mother
come to me % I want my mother to come and
pray for me."
Her dear mother came, so frail and weak,
but supported by Divine help to a state of
wonderful calmness. Loula held out her arms,
with a bright smile upon her face, saying —
"Oh, my precious mother, I do love you so
much ! You are so dear to me." And then she
asked three times how dear little Bessie was,
not knowing that the spirit had been the night
before released from the suffering clay. The
physician advised that she should not be told
of it. At last her mother said, " We hope she
Loula looked at her, and said with marked
" Oh, precious mother, I am sure I saw Bes-
sie in Heaven last night. I saw her twice''
Then very calmly, and with a bright smile on
her face —
"Precious mother, I want to talk some with
you now. I think I am going to die ; the
angels have told me so, and precious, darling
mother, God promised me last night that you
82 The Happy Valley.
should come to m(\ uikI tluit darling papa
should come, and He promised me that all,
every one of the dear boys should come. Tell
Gwyn, (Gwyn was the brother who was away
at school, and not allowed to come home, Jiis
tonsils being so large the disease was thought
to be particularly dangerous for him), to be a
faithful soldier ; that God has promised me he
She then asked her mother to forgive her
any trouble she might have caused her, also
called her faithful "Aunt Sade," who had
been a second mother to both the little girls,
and asked her forgiveness. They both assured
her that they had nothing to forgive, that she
had only been a comfort and a blessing to
The family physician who had watched her
w^itli loving interest, gave her some ice. She
took it and said, "Oh, this is so good ; it re-
freshes me so mnch. How good of God to give
us ice, and to give us such friends, but best of
all to give us Himself." She thanked the
doctor for his care and attention, and said,
*' You have all been so kind to me, and helped
The Valley of the Shadow. 83
me very much, but Jesus has helped me more
A few moments afterward he saw her look-
ing upward so intently, and with such a lumi-
nous face, he asked, " Loula, what are you look-
ing at ?" She replied, " I see a beautiful angel.
It is looking at me, and it is so beautiful."
The ice was such a great comfort to her, that
she begged her papa that he would always put
up ice and keep it for the sick and fevered for
her sake. He made a promise to her that he
would do so, and it has been religiously kept.
The sick from all about the country send to
him for ice, and it is dispensed freely, in me-
moriam. So that although she has passed from
earth, she is still holding the cup of cold water
to many a parched lip
Her mother begged her not to talk ; told her
that the doctor feared it would injure her, and
that he wanted her to try and go to sleep.
But she said, ''Oh, mother, God shows me such
beautiful things that I cannot sleep ; but if you
will say a prayer for me, and get close to me,
I will try."
And so she did sleep a little while, and then,
84 The Happy Valley,
opening her clear spiritual eyes, and gazing on
her mother, she said, while the very " radiancy
of glory," seemed to be reflected on her sweet
face, and speaking as if she were already in the
land of the blest :
"Come to me, my precious mother, lean
your tired head upon my bosom and rest. I told
you that God said you slioiild come. And
there comes darling papa, coming straight on,
and there is Gwyn marching on like a brave
soldier, and there is Walter." A look of pain
crossed her bright angelic face, then bright-
ening up again, she called so sweetly, "Come
on, Walter ;" and with a smile, " don't you see
him coming? Dear mother, Tommie has been
sorely tempted, but he is coming right on now,
and sweet little Rufus too ; he is coming, dar-
ling mother, did I not tell you that God had
promised me you should all come C
This was no delirium, no result of morphia
or other drugs. She had taken nothing to affect
her brain, and was in a condition of perfect
reason and consciousness, but one of exstatic
Her sympathy for all the family, and es-
The Valley of the Shadow. 85
pecially for her mother, in what they were
enduring, was intense. Looking up at her
mother, she exclaimed, "Your face is like an
angel's, mother, sitting there so calm and
sweet, but there is a terrible battle raging
At another time she put her arms around
lier mother's neck, saying, '* Oh, precious
mother, I love you more than all the world,
but I love Jesus more." When her papa left
her bedside weeping, she said, "Darling papa,
he is so good, I know he will go to hea-
She spoke again and again of the lovely
angel with a face like her mother' s. "I love her
better," she said, "than all the angels, and I
call her my mother angel. I believe now,"
kissing her hand, "I love my earthly mother
just a little better, but Jesus I love better than
Her mother suggested that this angel might
be her aunt Lizzie, the "Mrs. C." already re-
ferred to, who since the time of that visit to
E had passed away, but she said: "No,
mother, it was you. I've seen my auntie
86 The Happy Valley.
twice, and I knew her ; she gave me a sweet
smile but she did not speak."
It was a singular coincidence that her
mother had an older sister who died before
Loula's birth, who was remarkably like her-
At one time, speaking of herself and Bessie,
while eating soni',- gia])e juice, she said, "We
will miss all the grapes ;" and, after a pause,
" We will miss GoW s worJc .'"
She also called out to an unr aught girl, who
was nurse to the little brotlier, "Margaret,
you must come ; get your crutchts and come
Her sufferings continued great, and she said,
" Mother, last night I murmured against God,
but I have prayed for forgiveness, and He has
granted it, and I am so happy."
Once, as in Bessie's case, a shadow of fear
came over her as she looked in a darkened cor-
ner, and asked her papa who that dark man
was. Can it be that the tempter dared make
an effort to approach these darlings ?
Stopping in the midst of a sentence as she
was talking, she raised her hands as in adora-
The Valley of the Shadow. ^^
tion, and her face was almost transfigured.
Those whose privilege it was to be present, say
it was unearthly and indescribable in its radi-
ant loveliness. Her whole frame was quiver-
ing with an exstasy of joy, as she called
''Look! Precious mother, don't you see
'' Jesus I Jesus I I do wish you could see him.
1 did not Joiow anytlilng could he so loi^ely!
Oh, I love him more than anything else !"
In this she was firm. No matter how much
they tried to entice her back to a wish for life
and a consideration for human ties, the burden
of the answer was always the same, to the
effect that they were all inexpressibly dear to
her, but that "Jesus" was dearest and loveli-
est of all things.
As this sorrowful Wednesday wore on, the
dread disease gained the complete mastery,
and it was evident that the end was near. In
the afternoon her mother came into the room,
and she said to her with joyful expression of
voice and smiling face, cheerfully, as if she
88 The Happy Valley.
would fain comfort and strengthen her in the
"Dear mother, I am dying I''
"Well, my darling, you are not afraid to
" You love the Saviour."
" Yes, yes."
Later lier suiferings increased, and at inter-
vals her mind began to wander, but slie always
responded to her mother's voice. When her
mother said to her, ''Darling, do you know
me'!!" she replied, s])paking with great diffi-
culty, "Why, I would know my precious
mother anywhere." •
When her aunt bent ovei- lier. she said,
"Aunt Sadie, move a little and let me see
those beautiful things."
Even in her last hours, she was always glad
to hear the naiU'^ of Jesus, and showed her
love for Him as long as she could.
At one time she imagined slie was down liy
the river, where she had been going to school,
and she said, " I will go home now, it is getting
dark. 1 cannot see my lessons any longer, but
The Valley of the Shadow. 89
now I have only these crosses to learn." Again
she said, ' ' Open the gate and let me go through ;
will no one open the gate'^"
"I want to go home, but can't walk," she
said, and rising up in the bed, she threw her-
self upon her papa' s bosom, begging, piteously,
'' Oh papa, take me home."
They talked soothingly to her, and her cou-
sin offered Jier a drink of water. She said
softly, 'a will drink out of the river now."
" But dear, this is sweet, cool water ; will
you not have some ?"
" No," she said, '' Cousin Lou, I will drink
out of the river now."
When the agony was so sharp, she exclaimed,
*'0h, this suffering! But what is this suf-
fering when compared to that glory f
She had not been told of Bessie's death, but
she seemed perfectly aware of it, and never
talked of her as if they were to be separated.
Just before the end she sprang up in the bed,
and on her knees, held out both her hands,
exclaiming rapturously, '^Oh, there is Bessie !
I see her now, right there,'' pointing as she
spoke to an open window.
90 The Happy Valley.
Soon the light went out from her eyes, and
the struggle was over. She murmured, " Bes-
sie, Bessie, pretty, pretty," and the loving
heart ceased to beat, the gentle voice was
still, while the old clock recorded the hour —
half-past ten !
" Slowly across the dark night sky,
A crowd of white angels; are passing by;
Like a fleet of swans they float along,
On the silver notes of a dying song.
Like a cloud of incense their pinions rise.
Fading away up the purple skies,
But liush I for the silent glory is stirred,
By a strain such as earth has never heard."
'^ We bring Thee back Thine own, O Lord,
Rescued from earth and sin,
O Paradise! Thy pearly portals ope
And let these precious spirits in.
We bring these eaiih flowers sweet,
O Saviour, to Thy feet.
In each one pure and undefiled,
Behold thy child."
Thursday morning, September 6th, dawned
upon a heart broken family. Such a few days,
and '^so much gone." The joy and pride of
The Valley of the Shadow, 91
the household sleeping in marble beauty,
and a stillness of painful intensity brooding
They were laid side by side in the "little
back room" looking like two angels, under
their long white veils and amid fair Howers.
" That life is long that answers life's great end,"
and although they were like flowers nipped
in the bud. still their lives appear, as we look
back at them now, so rounded and complete.
that it does not seem as if their passing away
was in any sense premature.
They had done "'God's work," indeed, both
in their lives and in their deaths, and they are
victors now, through Him that loved us,
" Little hands we sought to hold,
Crossed upon that i)Osom cold,
You had ble=sed work to do ;
God has led us all by you';
Childhood's faith had made its sign ;
Jesus stooped with love divine,
And so sweet a look and tone,
That the children followed on.
92 The Happy Valley.
Ah, dear Lord, how could we know
Thou would'st lure our darlings so ?
Yet amid our tears and pain,
We would not win them back again."
On Thursday afternoon they were carried by
tender hands to their rest. The Holy Office of
the Church was said, the dust to dust was
given, and they were laid down in one grave. It
is in the old grave yard, near the feet of their
grandparents, and in the same row of little
mounds in which is the one before spoken of,
over which the summer's sun and winter's frost
and cold, have alternated for more than ninety
A beautiful monument of Italian marble is
reared above their resting-place. It is sur-
mounted by the Cross, the symbol of that Jesus,
in whom they triumphed over death, which
also bears the circle, the emblem of that per-
fect eternity upon which they have entered.
Upon the face of the monument is cut two
wreaths, linked together; Loula's wreath of
lilies, Bessie's of rose buds. The names of
•^'Loula" and "Bessie" are beneath the
The Valley of the Shadow. 93
Then comes the following inscription :
" Laid down to sleep together,
Sept. 6th 1877."
" They were lovely and pleasaat
In their lives, and in their deaths
They were not divided."
On the reverse is, their full baptismal name&
and ages, with these words :
" Beholding the King in His beauty."
On Loula' s end :
'^Loula said, put these words on my tomb-
' We love Him because He first loved us.' "
'•With Him in Paradise."
On Bessie's side, these words i
" Our Bessie's voice
Is hushed in prayer.
And changed to songs,
Where angels are.
Sleeping there in the quiet Valley, we must
94 The Happy Valley.
leave the mortal part, and let our thoughts and
desires follow their spirits to the land of light
and life, where, with the loved and radiant ones
who ministered to them on their dying beds,
they await in rest and peace the joyful
" How good of God, to halve the lot,
And give tlicm all the sweetness;
To us the empty room and cot.
To them the heavens' completeness.
"To us this grave, to them the rows
The mystic palm trees spring in,
To us the silence in the house,
To them the choral singing."
The caviller at God's truth must stand
abashed before such a revelation of spiritual
might as this ! What but a divine power
could uphold such children, and make them
full of a courage, not of earth, to meet the King
of Terrors, and meeting him, to find the sting
of death removed, and only a path of light
opening before their feet as they pass down
into the Valley of the Shadow \
What but a divine power could strengthen
The Valley of the Shadow. 95
the " Sweet Mother," that her faith failed nor,
and she has been enabled to say, '' It is well.''
It was indeed "a glimpse of glory," an
incitement to continued straggle toward the
gates of day, into which they passed from
The circumstances of their deaths has already
exerted a strong infiaence, and a i-evival of
spiritual life has sprung up in many a heart
that loved them.
The nurse girl, Margaret, has been led to ask,
''when Loula said for me to 'get my crutch-
es,' and come on, did she not mean that I need-
ed soniething to help me ; cannot I be baptized
and made a member of Christ's Church?"
She has been brought to Baptism and is now
preparing for Confirmation, and through it for
the reception of the Holy Eucharist. May she
be enabled by these " crutches " to support her
halting steps along the way of life, until she
arrives at the same shining gate which has ad-
mitted them to the rest of Paradise.
The lives of God's saints, be they young or
old, are the heritage of His Church, and for this
reason the simple story, uow ended, is told.
96 The Happy Valley.
Also because at a time when the voice and pen
of scoffers are alike busy, striving to overthrow-
all belief in the supernatural, and break down
all faith in a world of spirits, this evidence of
the Communion of Saints, and of the presence
of our Divine Lord, so pure, so beautiful, so un-
questioned — this death-bed testimony of two
guileless-hearted, truthful, little Christians,
ought to stand as a powerful refutation to all
complex infidel philosophy.
The experiences of their last hours could have
been no delusion. Spiritual help was iii(l(-td
vouchsafed to them, and their eyes were open-
ed, as in the case of the servant of Elijah upon
the mountain (2 Kings vi. 16, 17), that they
might see the glory that surrounded them.
Only humble souls, that have in Christ Jesus
become like little children can hope for a simi-
lar blessing, and for it our Holy Mother Church
bids all within Her fold to pray, as on the
*' Holy Innocents Day."
''O Almighty God, who out of the mouth of
babes and sucklings hast ordained strength,
and madest infants to glorify thee by their
The Valley of Life, 97
deaths ; mortify and kill all voices in us, and so
strengthen as by thy grace, that by the inno-
cency of our lives, and constancy of our faith,
even unto death, we may glorify thy Holy name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
And again, on the feast of "St. Michael and
"O everlasting God, who hast ordained and
constituted the services of angels and men in a
v/onderful order ; mercifully grant that as thy
holy angels always do Thee service in Heaven,
so, by thy appointment, they may succor and
defend us on earth ; through Jesus Christ our
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